Music players spark memories

Agewell has recently teamed up with national organisation, Unforgettable, to spark special memories for local people with dementia.

Unforgettable was launched by James Ashwell whose mother was diagnosed with dementia. He created the company to offer products and services which can really help people with memory loss and their carers.

Through its Kingfisher Buddies project, Agewell has purchased 50 of Unforgettable’s top-selling music players and they’re creating quite a stir. “We talk to the individual and their family members to create a playlist,” explains Debra Pierson. “This might be music from their childhood, their school or church, or songs they remember their mum singing to them. We download it onto the music player which is operated simply by lifting the lid.

“Some people have asked for theme tunes from old TV shows or favourite sounds. The music helps them remember things so it’s like a memory toolkit. I’ve had someone who wanted a peel of bells and another who wanted the dawn chorus. It’s like their life story through music.”


Memorable tunes

Margaret Merris was one of the first Kingfisher Buddies clients to receive a music player.

The 86-year-old from Tividale was diagnosed with dementia in 2017 and desperately wanted to go out but was too nervous to do so.

Having accompanied her to Tesco a couple of times, Debra offered her a music player to give her some company at home. Debra worked with Margaret to create a playlist which included the theme tune from the 1960s soap opera, Peyton Place, and Match of the Day, as well as Singing in the Rain and music from Doctor Zhivago.

When Debra presented the music player to her, Margaret was quite emotional. “I’m absolutely thrilled with it,” she said.

Other happy clients include: 

  • Bryone “Bing” Crosbie who attends the Elizabeth Prout group and was in the paratroopers. He requested a five minute track of a Lancaster bomber, as well as plenty of Annie Lennox as he hails from Scotland. 
  • An African Caribbean lady who asked for all Motown tracks and was almost in tears when she received her music player. 
  • A lady who was al saxophonist on the cruise liners in her twenties and chose music from this era to remind her of those good times.